Oct. 21, 2021

Part 2: Here's What Happened When I Worked with a Professional Organizer with Linda Samuels

Part 2: Here's What Happened When I Worked with a Professional Organizer with Linda Samuels

This is a special double feature of my guest Linda Samuels, professional organizer.  After appearing in Episode 44 to share her thoughts about how to handle clutter and how to create spaces that feel right, Linda and I worked together during three virtual organizing sessions to address the clutter and organizational needs within my home.  This second episode is a review of what transpired and the important lessons I learned from Linda about handling clutter, organizing for success, and living well.

You’re going to hear not only my “a-ha” moments, but you’re also going to get a sense of what it is like to work with a professional organizer too.  Linda’s style of coaching is both warm and highly effective...so listen in to our conversation to join in.

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, CVPO™, is a compassionate, enthusiastic Professional Organizer and Coach, founder of Oh, So Organized!, Professional Organizer Advisor for Executive Mom Nest, and blogger on organizing and life balance. In addition to offering virtual organizing to clients worldwide, Linda presents workshops, writes, and mentors other Professional Organizers. Media features include WNYC's All of It, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Westchester Magazine, and Entrepreneur.com. Linda lives with her husband between two rivers 30 miles north of New York City, in a small, colorful home with a purple front door. They are empty-nesters as their children are in the world living their adult lives.

Timestamps: 

  • [14:26] The first lesson: Get your thinking in order to avoid overwhelm
  • [17:24] The second lesson: Be aware of your ways of being and your energy as you organize
  • [19:19] How Linda listens for what her clients need and wish for
  • [20:37] The third lesson: Consider what you really want to have happen
  • [21:41] Why clutter often leads to feelings of paralysis and procrastination

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For more information on the Make Time for Success podcast, visit:

https://www.maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com

Connect with Us!

Dr. Christine Li -

Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/procrastinationcoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/procrastinationcoach/

Linda Samuels -

Website: https://www.ohsoorganized.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindasamuels/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ohsoorganizedlindasamuels/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ohsoorganized/

Note: To get access to my free workbook Cut the Clutter based on the work I was able to do in my sessions with Linda Samuels, go to https://www.maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com/clutter

Transcript

Christine Li:

Welcome back to The make time for success podcast. This is Episode 45. So if you happen to have missed Episode 44, you might want to stop right now and go back and listen to that episode. First, where I introduced you to the magic and the wisdom of professional organizer and special guest, Linda Samuels is a great conversation, where Linda talks about the five major areas of clutter that you can start to get organized now. Now this episode number 45, is a special peek into the kind of work that Linda does with her virtual organizing clients. And in this special situation, I am her virtual organizing client, I hired Linda to guide me inside three virtual organizing sessions where she was in her home, looking into my home via her computer and the wonders of the web. Inside this episode, you're going to hear two parts. First, are my reflections on what happened and the lasting effects of getting help from a professional organizer like Linda. And second, you're going to hear our wrap up conversation, which includes some highlights from the work that we did together. I am so grateful for Linda for joining me in this crazy adventure. And for being on this podcast and for being such an amazing teacher. I can't wait to have you listen to this episode so that you can learn from Linda too. But before we go to the episode, I want to let you know that I've developed a free resource called cut the clutter that you can download now at make time for success podcast.com slash clutter again, it's make time for success podcast.com slash clutter. It's just a few prompts and questions that I was inspired to jot down after my first organizing session. with Linda, I think it's a great little cheat sheet for you a little inspiration to help you get started on your own organizing journey. So let's go listen to the episode now. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast if you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hi there. So this is part one of two parts of this particular episode. And this part is where I give you my own sense of what using a professional organizer is like and the benefits of doing so. And I just wanted to start by saying that we're in a time of pandemic. So this stress has been unyielding, it seems to most all of us because we've been in this period of time where or needing to take precautions, or we are needing to deal with extra stressors. Our routines have been completely changed from the way they used to be just a short while ago. And I've been reflecting on this topic a lot. Especially since I decided to make this period of time, the time when I really address my clutter issue head on. And I just wanted to put a note at the top of this session to say that because we're in these times of stress, I want to encourage you to do yourself a favor and take a look at what ever issues are bothering you. Whatever they are, take a look at them, face them head on even though you might be tired and stress because I want you to be able to have the room and the power to be able to get help for those issues or to decide for yourself that it's time to actually let those issues go. So that's just a love note from me to you before I start talking about the clutter sessions I had with Linda Samuels. So just to catch you back up, I hired her for three sessions of virtual organizing and what we decided to do was to To look at my home office, to look at my kitchen, and to look at my master bedroom, that's just to help you get a sense of what rooms we were focusing on. But I think it wasn't so much the rooms that we were addressing, I think we were addressing my ability to look at my familiar spaces and see new options for them. So I think the things that I learned from Linda, I could apply anywhere to my car, to my purse to my life, they're just general principles about letting go seeing new options, and making things really work for my life. And I really appreciated the fact that Linda was a great guide in this way. So I made a short list of things that I wanted to share with you here. And I'm going to start that now. So what I learned from her is that in order to have your problematic issue addressed, you don't necessarily need to sign on to something long term, and you don't have to break your bank account. To get these matters solved. I worked with her for three sessions, I felt I more than got my money's worth in return, and the lessons and the reduction of clutter that I was able to achieve in a very short amount of time. So I want to encourage you to again, take a look at what in your life needs to be addressed. And to see, who can you ask for help. How can you get this issue to move out of your way quicker or faster, or in an easier way. Just do that, because it's always good to have a clear road in front of you so that you can move freely, and you can feel at your best, even in pandemic times. And I just wanted to mention that these three sessions went by like a flash, it went by really quickly, even though I was a little bit nervous before each session, I felt like the time went by really quickly. The lessons were learned really quickly. And I was able to do the homework within each session really quickly to at this point, I can report that after several weeks have passed since my organizing sessions with Linda, I feel that everything is kind of change. For me regarding the clutter, it's not that the clutter is 100% gone. That was of course my wish, and maybe my dream, my ideal picture of what I might be able to achieve. But it was clear pretty much from the get go, that that was not what we were going to be able to achieve. And it wasn't probably even a reasonable thing to think I was going to achieve in such a short timeframe. But I am happy to report that the clutter has been significantly addressed. And living in my own home has gotten easier. So that's a huge win for me. And some sub notes that I have are that I've noticed that putting things back into what I think is their home space in my home is happening a lot more quickly by me. And I feel much more motivated to do that to keep that up. And I feel like I'm beginning to get the thrill out of tidying up and having things be in their place and having things be find a ball I think I'm developing micro routines. Where I know that if I just quickly do a few actions, things can look much tidier, much cleaner, much more workable. So I'm much less frustrated by my clutter. And I have a lot less clutter to deal with. And what Linda basically did was have me review what my dissatisfaction was for each space that we were tackling. And then she kind of helped me to articulate and delineate four or five major action steps that I would do soon after the session was over. And I found that it was really easy to do those steps because I told her that I was going to do those steps. So when you're in a partnership with someone, I think there's that whole thing about reciprocity you want to not fall down because somebody else is looking because somebody else is helping you you just want to do your best in that moment. And on top of that I just wanted the clutter out of the way so once I got her guidance and her support, I felt like I was kind of flying and knew what I was doing and I felt much more confident about taking action about the clutter. The US Second thing I have to share is that I feel much calmer. And this change, of course, helps with everything, it helps with my focus, it helps me feel proud of my space and of myself for being able to arrange this. And I feel like, I'm not gonna slide backwards, because I've arrived at this current situation where the clutter has been addressed. And it's not completely overwhelming me anymore. So that was also I think, a big win for me. The third tip that I have here, or the third reflection that I have, is that it's a surprise for me, I spend much less time overall tidying, or decluttering. And I was not expecting that at all that was not in my vision of what was going to happen, I thought I was gonna have to do a lot of work, it was going to be annoying and frustrating and all of that, and that I was gonna have to spend a lot of time but what happened was I would do those four or five action steps that Linda would suggest, and I would feel like I was on fire. So they actually got cleared away really quickly. And then that left me with much less to tidy and much less to be worried about or concerned about or to be distracted by afterwards. So the time savings, the mood improvement and the confidence boost that I got from our sessions made the whole thing more than worth my time, my energy and my financial investment. So I just wanted to make sure you understood that in case you're thinking about hiring someone for a project, it's really worth hiring a specialist because most things are easier when we have support. Most times when you get to work with a specialist, it's like giving yourself a gift because you get all of their wisdom to take home with you and to keep that they've spent years getting and then that was them can help you unbundle that part of yourself that might be trapped in shame or confusion or just not knowing how to get yourself out of that issue. So go be creative, go find a new solution to that old, nagging problem that you might be living within your home. And if it's clutter, certainly I would recommend Linda Samuels wholeheartedly and very enthusiastically. So take a few minutes, think about what this session is bringing up for you and think about how you might be able to get through the issues more quickly, with some more support. Now I'd like to move on to the second part of this episode, where you'll hear Linda and me get back into conversation about some more lessons that I learned from her. It's great information. So please hang on. Just after this little musical interlude. You'll hear our conversation. Thanks. So now I have brought back our loveliest of guests, Linda Samuels, and I want to get you all caught up because Linda and I have been working together over the past month and a half, I would say over the course of the three sessions that I purchased from her in order to get a handle on my office, in my house, my kitchen, also in my house, and my master bedroom. And we just actually wrapped up that last session earlier today. And I just thought it would be really nice for you, my listener to get a sense of what this process is like and what it's like to work with Linda, and I wanted to start us off by first of all welcoming Linda back.

Linda Samuels:

Oh, thank you for having me. It's always great seeing you working with you talking with you.

Christine Li:

Thank you, Linda for participating and for being with me and for helping me out. And I just thought we'd start out with my top three pieces of learning and wisdom that I got from working with Linda. So number one is that you don't have to completely wipe everything clean and reorganize everything and have everything be just so in order for the decluttering and the organizing to feel like a success. And for me that was I think an immediate aha moments as soon as Linda and I began our work together, because of course, in my head, I thought, well, this all has to go. All of this has to be redone, rethought, re purchased, reorganized, and it has to feel like a brand new space. And those thoughts, I think were causing me a lot of overwhelm. And so Linda comes in. And Linda, can you take over from here? What did you say to me in that moment?

Linda Samuels:

I think actually, in speaking to the idea of sort of this black and white idea, right, it's like, I think there was the idea of this all or nothing. And really, what I tried to help most people with is recognizing the small wins along the way. Because, look, we know life is messy. Life is complicated. Most of us can't just stop what we're doing to just organize. So the trick is really, how can we incorporate getting organized editing, getting our places the way we want, while we're living the rest of our life? Right? And so I think that's where we were, you know, the challenge that you set to me of these three rooms in three sessions, I'm thinking, how's that gonna happen? So I felt like I needed to help you adjust what was possible so that you could experience that win, and the feeling of success and progress and what that looks like, and it looks differently at different points.

Christine Li:

Yes, thank you for that explanation. And I think I immediately calmed down. As soon as I knew you were understanding that life is messy. And my life is definitely messy, so that you could fit me into your system, and help me to feel comfortable digging into this in a new way. So that was really helpful.

Linda Samuels:

Well, it's actually it is interesting, you said that I could fit you into my system. And in fact, I wanted you to be comfortable with your system, right? It's really not about my system. It's about what's happening in your life, and how can we help you to get to the goals that you have with all the things you have on your plate?

Christine Li:

Yes, yes. And that very beautifully leads to peace of learning. Number two, that you need to work according to your own energy, and ways of being the ways you are in your home, the ways you feel your energy is in a particular room when you're at your desk or working. Linda just taught me that earlier today. And I just don't naturally think like that. I'm all into concepts of energy management, and Fung Shui. But I feel like I have not organized my furniture and my belongings. So that they work really well with how I work in my house, how I cook in my kitchen. And so Linda, kind of opened my eyes to that earlier today to Could you tell us a little bit more about that particular tip? How do you get people to work closer to their natural energy.

Linda Samuels:

So I mean, one of the ways I do that is by listening to how you're describing, right? How you're describing a space for your feeling of being in the space. And I think, you know, the whole idea that organizing is an emotional process or a visceral process. I don't know how often that comes up. But I definitely feel that way. In other words, you may even if you think back to when you first, were looking for houses, and you found your house, and I suspect you looked at all kinds of houses, but when you walked into the house that you live in, there was something about it didn't have any of your furniture, any of your special belongings, nothing. But there was maybe it was the light or the way the rooms were positioned, or I don't know what. And so those are the kinds of things that I listened for, as you describe your spaces, as you talked about the colors you like or don't like, or how you feel like when we would tour a room? I'd have you start at the beginning of how you enter that room. And so I'd be not just looking but also listening to how you were describing your experience of entering that room so I could see where are the points that are troubling you? What is the challenge for you? And then as we talked about certain solutions, I would keep that in mind so that, you know I could try to help you focus on what could we do to help you feel better in those spaces?

Christine Li:

Yes, I didn't know that was exactly the reason why you had me enter the room as the star But now I know. So I think you've just taught me in general that the whole practice of helping someone to get their space organized is a multi layer, multi faceted

Linda Samuels:

craft,

Christine Li:

and that it's the person's energy as much as it is their stuff. And I am now going to move forward and continue with my organizing and rearranging with that newfound appreciation. And you were right, that three sessions is not sufficient to do three rooms that need help. So I also realized that after session number one, okay, now on to the last piece of wisdom that I got from Linda, although there were so many that this is the personal one, the one that I feel was specific to the way I handled my staff, she taught me that I needed to really think through what I was doing. Now mind you, I am obsessed with the clutter in my house. So I feel like I'm thinking about this 24 seven, I don't have to think about this anymore. But as soon as I started working with Linda, I realized, I'm actually not considering things I'm not sitting with what I want what my target is, for a space or a corner, or a plant even. I was just feeling helpless and overwhelmed with it all. So thank you, Linda, for that piece of information for me for my heart, could you add your comment to that particular moment in our work together?

Linda Samuels:

Well, you know, get I just have to say like I'm My heart feels full, just listening to the things that you've taken away. And certainly this last one, two, amazing, amazing discoveries that you had. Because I think you've really captured something, you felt the experience, but I think it's something that other people feel too, which is that so often, whether it's clutter, or something else, the sense of it bothering us, and how that affects us deeply, you know, within it affects our moods, it affects how we function in our spaces, all those things. But what happens is we think about it, but only in terms of the bothering us part, right? And then that escalates into feeling overwhelmed, which then escalates into sometimes paralysis or procrastination. And so the thing that feels so huge. Like, we think we can't move forward. But in fact, what you discovered is that when you take that thinking energy what you were thinking about it, but now you just shifted slightly. So instead of just thinking about it, now you start getting curious about it, like okay, here's this pile, well, what is the stuff like I, I see it as a pile, but okay, it's a shirt that belongs in another room, it's shoes that should go with the shoe stuff. It's vitamins that belong in the vitamin cabinet. And once we start thinking about things in a different way, where we say it's stuff I just don't need, but it's been sitting there for five years, or 10 years or whatever, then the overwhelm, it's not that it won't be there, but we start to see a way forward. So I think that that's what I saw with you. In other words, you know, you came in really clear with what was important to you what you wanted in your life, what was bothering you in your spaces. Even as we did some of the editing together, you were really clear about making decisions. You had no trouble with that. But it was how do I move past just feeling the overwhelm of it and actually do it? And then how do I make good choices about?

Christine Li:

Yes, thank you, you are reminding me about our mini debate that we had early on in our work together about whether my tolerance for clutter was high or low. And I was taking the side that my tolerance for clutter must be high, because it seemed to be everywhere I looked. And Linda was arguing that actually my tolerance for clutter was very low. And I ended up really agreeing with her. Because basically her point was that any piece of clutter would kind of send my anxiety through the roof, that I really had very little patience for it and it bothered me a lot. So I love the word bothering that you just use because that's me to a tee that I get really bothered by this stuff while I'm coexisting with it. So

Linda Samuels:

And then the other piece of it is that while it does take action, so you were talking about the thinking that like a certain kind of thinking and then shifting your thinking to more active thinking, but then that then translates into the next step of doing. And it's the doing, how do we incorporate the doing into a busy life? And I think that's what we're working with. Right? Yes. But as you would make, you know, steps each time you would do something, you know, you made a lot of progress. You'd feel that you're like, oh, wow, you know, like, I did this. And I can do this, and I am doing this. We can.

Christine Li:

Yes. So thank you, Linda, because you have opened up this phase of my life. So not just my home and my spaces. But this part of my life that I really was ready for the part that wants to live easier, wants to live less bothered, and one that I think is going to be great. So thank you so much, Linda, you've been amazing to work with. Your wisdom is precious to me. And I just want to encourage anyone who happens to be in a space, like I have been in bothers busy, overwhelmed by clutter that you consider working with Linda Samuels. Linda, could you offer some final words for anyone who might be on the fence about working with someone professionally?

Linda Samuels:

Sure. So I think what happens is, you know, we like to be able to do things ourselves, I'm guilty as charged, right. But we all have areas that we feel challenged with, or struggle with. And if you've been struggling for a long time, if you've been trying to get organized for a long time, if you've been thinking about getting organized for a long time, it can make a tremendous difference to have someone there with you to walk that walk. Whether you take them on the full journey with you are part of the journey, it does make a difference. So if someone out there is feeling that struggle and wants some help, I'd be more than happy to talk with them.

Christine Li:

Okay, wonderful. Please remind us again, how to get in touch with you. And then we're going to wrap up.

Linda Samuels:

Sure, probably the easiest way to find me is just go to my website, both so organized. com that's ohsorganiz.com. And then all my information is there to contact me. I'd love to hear from you.

Christine Li:

Thank you so much, Linda. You're so kind to meet with me twice plus in my home, virtually. I've enjoyed every minute. Thank you so much for being here. And thank

Linda Samuels:

you so much. You're a pleasure to work with and talk with.

Christine Li:

Thanks so much. Bye, everyone. Bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach, send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.

Linda Samuels

CEO / Professional Organizer / Mentor / Blogger

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, CVPO™, is a compassionate, enthusiastic Professional Organizer and Coach, founder of Oh, So Organized!, Professional Organizer Advisor for Executive Mom Nest, and blogger on organizing and life balance. In addition to offering virtual organizing to clients worldwide, Linda presents workshops, writes, and mentors other Professional Organizers. Media features include WNYC's All of It, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Westchester Magazine, and Entrepreneur.com. Linda lives with her husband between two rivers 30 miles north of New York City, in a small, colorful home with a purple front door. They are empty-nesters as their children are in the world living their adult lives.